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of making, and the sponge was set. On the
top of the dough a cross was also drawn with a
blunt edge.

"Now," said madam, "all that is to keep the
witches out of the food. Yesterday she told me
that during the previous night the cat had been
very uneasy, and had gone mewing about for a
long time. She got out of bed, and drew the
edge of a knife three times round the cat's
head, after which it was quiet and went to sleep
directly. She had cut the throats of the witches
which were tormenting the cat, and had fastened
themselves round her head." When we got
back to our own room, my wife continued:
"That is not all: she is absolutely a darling of
a griffin. She has so established your character
for sanctity that in fact you are now supposed
to be a priest in your own country, and she
defends the interests and the character of the
family on all occasions. She does all my
marketing now with the peasants, and that alone
halves my expenses."

"But, my dear, how can she possibly have
represented me as a priest, the last thing I wish
to be thought?"

"Well, I was coming to that. Put up that
book and listen patiently. I got it all from the
countess to-day when I was there, and when I
explained some things which puzzled her she
laughed immoderately. You know what kind of
a character we all got, because we did not go to
church, nor have images to adore, nor cross
ourselves. We were thought dogs, who worshipped
no God at all, and you confirmed this impression
by saying you worshipped, like the Athenians
to whom Paul preached, an unknown God. I
dare say our lives would not have been safe,
but Anastasia has put it all right. I sent
her amongst the peasants to buy provisions.
They told her that we were dogs, and that it
was a shame for her, a 'starrie verra,' to
live with such dreadful people. 'Ah!' she
said, 'you are a parcel of fools; you don't
know them as I do. My master is a great
priest in his own country. Don't I see him
twice every week performing the services with
robes, and dresses, and grand curtains in the
large room? Don't I see him reading and praying
out of five large books full of saints and
pictures every day? Don't they all sing and
chant every evening before going to bed? Did
ever any of you see them dance like you fools?
Don't I break as many unclean pots as I like,
and madame is never angry, but says, "That's
right, Anastasia, keep things clean."' This
counter-blast has been going on some time, and
now the countess says we are looked upon with
different feelings; in fact, our cook has
established you in the veneration and good opinion
of the people. Besides, you know just dealings
with them may have had some effect also."

"But what does it mean? How do I perform
the services twice a week?"

"Have you not, like a captain at the North
Pole, been setting the children to perform King
Alfred, and recite pieces, and sing? Have I not
got dresses made for them? Have you not
painted a scene (oh, how dreadfully bad), and is
not this our amusement every Tuesday and

"And the five great books of saints from
which I read and pray; can they be the four
volumes of the Illustrated London News?"

"Yes, and the large Illustrated Family Bible.
She has seen the pictures, and how carefully we
handle them, not to spoil the grand binding. So
what with the acting, reciting, singing, reading,
and family prayers, it is all settled in Anastasia's
mind that you are a great good man, but
particularly the book of pictures has fixed this
conclusion in her mind."

A great sacrifice had yet to be made to the
starrie verra. Cooking-pots might be made of
the coarsest earthenware, or porcelain, it
mattered not; if they were defiled, either they must
go, or the cook would go; that was the fixed

We had given a party. Sanderson was there,
Defour was there, Pins was there, the count
and many others were there. Each gentleman
had brought his favourite four-footed companion
and protector. Some had two. These dogs were,
during supper, lying about the room. I thought,
in common hospitality, it was but right that I
should feed my friends' dogs, and I proposed to
give them a great feast of broken victuals before
they were taken from the room. No sooner
said than done; plates, dishes, tureensof our
choice Wedgewoodwere filled with what dogs
like, and put before our expectant neighbours.
It was delightful to see how the strong fellows
wagged their tails, and lapped their jaws, and
crunched the bones, and relished the dainty
feast; but in the midst of all, to our great grief,
the starrie verra opened the door, and looked
in for some orders. She saw the defilement;
her face assumed a more grim look than I had
ever seen on it. In a moment I felt that my
wife's pet crockery was tried and condemned
past all reprieve. Dogs had defiled it. Madame
looked at me with a What-Shall-I-Do expression;
and I replied by another look of Take-It-
Easy-And-Let-It-Go. It was a sore struggle,
but prudence triumphed over crockery. The
servant was invaluable. It was not she but the
crockery that might be replaced. But oh! is
there a lady in England who does not
sympathise with my poor wife as, immediately after
the removal of the cloth, she heard the smash of
her Wedgewood going on in the kitchen? She
sat still, and winced hard, and pressed her lips
together at each smash. Meanwhile, however,
I had told her grief to our guests, and each
crash was provoking laughter, in which she at
length, catching the infection, joined long and
heartily. The starrie verra remained with us
until we left that part of the country. Then
her grim countenance relaxed, and she cried
bitterly at parting. She was the only honest servant
we ever had in Russia.